Why National Nutrition Month is Worth Celebrating

March is National Nutrition Month!

Right when our healthy New Year’s habit’s begin to fade, National Nutrition Month® rolls around in March to remind you of those healthy eating habits.

The theme for the 2016 National Nutrition Month® is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which is all about bringing back the enjoyment factor of mealtimes. It’s important to remember that food isn’t just food/energy/fuel – there’s so many reasons why you eat the foods you eat, when you eat them, and how those foods make you feel. In a diet-filled world, it’s so easy to forget that mealtime doesn’t have to be about eating certain foods because you have to and that healthy eating can actually be enjoyable.

This month’s blog posts are going to focus on this year’s National Nutrition Month theme, celebrating all the ways healthy eating can be enjoyable and fun. Here are some easy ways develop healthy eating habits during National Nutrition Month®, and to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”

Be more mindful during meals

This tip goes back to the “mindful eating” strategies outlined in last week’s blog, How To Adopt These Healthy Habits From People Who Maintain a Healthy Weight (Without Dieting).

Take a look at your meal times and see how many times you’re eating with the TV on, while you’re on your phone, texting, on the computer, reading a book or magazine…the list goes on for the number of ways we are distracted while eating.

One research study showed that people who were distracted  with playing a computer game while they ate lunch ended up eating more, couldn’t quite remember all the foods they had eaten and were less full than those who were not distracted during the meal.

  • Take a break from your computer, book, and/or phone, get up out of that desk and enjoy your lunch without distractions.
  • If you are eating on-the-go, make sure you have nutritious snacks available, such as fruits, vegetables, mixed nuts, string cheese, hummus, Greek yogurt, sandwiches, etc.

Enjoy the social aspect of mealtimes

Did you know that family meals are associated with healthy weights in children and adolescents and can help promote healthy eating choices? When kids are involved in family meals, they pick up healthy eating habits from mom and dad – eating healthy foods and sitting down to enjoy an undistracted meal becomes the norm.

In adults, the idea of family meal time can be shared with friends: A story recently came out about 5 New York lawyers who called themselves the “Lunch Bunch” – they make 5 portions of a healthy, homemade lunch once a week, and enjoy the others’ meals the rest of the week.What a fun way to not only only have to prepare lunch just once a week, but also to try new recipes, taste new foods, and branch out from the typical brown-bag sandwich.

Set some healthy eating goals this month

Healthy eating can be a challenge, but the good news is that good nutrition has INSTANT benefits. You don’t need to go on a 30-day diet or push yourself to the max for 7 days in a row at the gym to feel good about what foods you put on your plate, which in turn will make you feel good. Nobody ever said, “Wow, I really regret making all those healthy choices!”

Tips to get started:

  • Try to eat at least one serving of fruit or vegetables at each meal and snack. Try adding a banana to your morning oatmeal or packing carrots in hummus as your afternoon snack.
  • Getting 25-30 grams of protein per meal can help you meet your protein needs and feel more satisfied with meals. Eat a variety of  protein sources, from beans, dairy, nuts, seeds, poultry, meat and fish.
  • Make sure to incorporate healthy fats into  your meals and snacks. People often don’t feel satisfied or “hungry an hour later” after drinking a smoothie – try adding peanut butter, hemp, chia or flax seeds, or an avocado to your smoothie to make it a more balanced meal.
  • Make more grains WHOLE grains. This means having brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain bread, pasta and wraps at meals.

You might also like:

March 1st is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day! 

Real Mom Nutrition || 6 Amazing Recipes with Peanut Butter

Serious Eats || Rosa Parks’ Featherlight Peanut Butter Pancakes Cool!

National Peanut Board || PB&J – The Mighty Mouthful for Athletes PB&J is my go-to snack and meal recommendation for busy athletes.

Nourish RD’s || Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce Would be great with tofu or chicken for extra protein

Sharon Palmer || Eating a Plant Based Diet Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Good nutrition is important for everyone, but athletes have increased nutrient needs due to their high activity levels, and each athlete is different in terms of what foods they should eat and when they should be eating to optimize physical performance.

Stop into the Sanford Fieldhouse today or call 605-312-7878 to set up an appointment with the Sports Nutritionist!